10/08/2009 By Shawn Burns

“Ai-doo is coming to get me!!”

“I’m sharing my dinner with Ai-doo.”

Sometimes Ai-doo is a baby. Sometimes Ai-doo is a cricket. Mostly Ai-doo is Erin’s imaginary friend.

She tells long stories detailing their exploits together, and Ai-doo tends to be a trouble-maker. Sometimes she is afraid of him (her?) but usually they are just playing together.

We’ve wondered, Emily and I, where Ai-doo comes from. He showed up in the early summer, and there are a number of songs Erin listens to that have the phrase “I do” in them. It’s possible she just invented a name.

But I suspect Ai-doo has a more sinister origin than a simple children’s song or a child’s imagination. I suspect that Ai-doo is less an imaginary, than an incorporeal friend.

Because, you see, in the early summer we went to Disneyland as part of our Southern California Road Trip. And at Disneyland, as Erin knows, the ghosts all live “at the haunted smanshon”. And in the bridal room in the Haunted Mansion there dwells the haunt of a groom, whose form is revealed as he pops up from behind a box to declaim: “I do!”

And as the narrator promises, warns, or curses as you prepare to disembark from your doom buggy, we ought to beware hitchhiking ghosts.

Because surely, certainly, a ghost has followed us home.